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No. 1426.



Voluntary Statement of THOMAS L. BLAKE and AMON CHAULK of Mulligan Bight, Lake Melville and JOSEPH MICHELIN of Traverspine on the Hamilton River.

1.     We, the undersigned are amongst the oldest inhabitants on and about Lake Melville and the Hamilton Inlet.

I, Thomas L. Blake, was born about 20 miles west of Rigoulette 78 years ago.

I, Joseph Michelin, am 75 years of age and was born at a settlement on Lake Melville about 12 miles east of North West river.

I, Amon Chaulk, aged 66 years, came to the Labrador Coast in 1868 and, except for four years spent at Stag Bay, have lived continuously on and about Lake Melville.

We have been trappers and fishermen all our lives, our practice being to fish in the summer for salmon and to trap fur-bearing animals in the winter time. We have a fair remembrance of the conditions and happenings which have obtained and taken place in this region since we were young men and more particularly of the facts and matters hereinafter mentioned.

2.     The Indians who have traded for a great many years at the North West River Post are the Montagnais or Mountaineer Indians who come north-wards from the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in particular from St. Augustine, Mingan and Seven Islands to hunt and trap the fur bearing animals. Many years ago we used to see Nascaupee Indians from the Ungava country, but when the outposts of the Hudson's Bay Company at Lake Winokapau and Fort (Nascaupee) Nascopie which was located near the headwater of the Hamilton River, were closed about 1873 or 1874, these Indians ceased to come down here in any considerable numbers. The Indians have always hunted north and south of Lake Melville, generally speaking, as far eastward as Mulligan Bight.

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3.     The principal fishery carried on in Lake Melville and the Narrows between the said lake and Hamilton Inlet is the salmon fishery. Very occasionally we have caught the deep sea codfish in the Narrows about 2 or 3 miles west of Rigoulette, but this is a very exceptional occurrence, the nearest point to Rigoulette at which this fish is usually caught being Black Island in the Hamilton Inlet 20 miles or more distant.

4.     We have never at any time been in the habit of observing the Newfoundland game and fish regulations, being governed in our hunting and fishing only by certain customs which have long been recognized by the inhabitants of this region. We understand that the Newfoundland fishermen who fish for cod in the Hamilton Inlet have always been governed by the Newfoundland regulations.

5.     We know of no grants of land which have been made by the Newfoundland government except the grant of 60 acres of land at Traverspine, which was made to the undersigned Joseph Michelin a few years ago, and also we understand some grants of land were made about 1905 to a number of the settlers at Mud Lake.

I, the undersigned Joseph Michelin, obtained two mining licenses from the Newfoundland government, one relating to a location on the Hamilton river about five miles above Muskrat Falls and the other to a location at Lake Winokapau. These licenses have lapsed.

6. Although we have been required for some years past to pay Customs Duties upon the goods imported by the Hudson's Bay Company and other posts and bought by us from the posts, we have never been given any representation in the Newfoundland Legislature nor any return for the revenue contributed by the inhabitants of Labrador except a Mail Service, which at best is a very poor one, letters posted to us in the fall of the year frequently not reaching us until the following June.

According to our information, the inhabitants of Lake Melville and the Hamilton Inlet are, without a single exception that we have heard of, most anxious that Labrador shall be held to constitute part of the Dominion of Canada.

The foregoing statement has been read to us and we sign the same verily believing the same to be true according to the best of our knowledge, information and belief.

Witness : H. A. W. PLAXTON


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